Watching the recent episode of the DVC Show about Member Benefits got me thinking about the benefits I wish we had as DVC members. Don’t get me wrong, I love the perks we currently have as direct members, and I didn’t buy into DVC to get the benefits, but I do feel there’s room for a few more. Given the cost of joining it’s nice to have some extra perks which make you feel special and valued as a member. I’ve tried to come up with some which I’d like to think could actually be possible one day.
A Member Lounge in Every Park
The Member Lounge in EPCOT is awesome. I love nothing more than taking some time away from the heat and crowds, to just sit and relax up there with a drink and maybe a snack. My kids call it the secret club because honestly, that’s what it feels like. A special club reserved for members that you wouldn’t even know existed unless somebody told you. Going up there always feels exclusive and special, and really makes me feel valued as a member.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if this was possible in all four theme parks in Walt Disney World? Imagine having a secret hideaway overlooking Cinderella Castle. Or even better inside Cinderella Castle. Whilst inside the castle might be a bit big of an ask (a girl can dream though), I don’t think a lounge in every park is. Disney is clearly trying to sway people to buy direct over resale and I think this perk would certainly help their cause.
DVC Member Entrance to the Parks
Annual Passholders get their own dedicated entrance to the parks, so why shouldn’t DVC members? I know a lot of members also have an Annual Pass, but I still think it would be nice to acknowledge them with their own entrance. As a member, your Magic Band might turn Mickey purple rather than green as you enter the park, which may be followed by a greeting of ‘Welcome Home’. This is a nice touch (if a little unpredictable) but to be able to skip past the lines to get in through an exclusive entrance would be even better.
DVC Festival Merchandise and Gifts
Exclusive Festival Merchandise. Another benefit that Annual Passholders seem to get, but DVC members don’t. I’m thinking specifically of the EPCOT Food and Wine, or Flower and Garden Festival merchandise available for Passholders only. Some of these items are available to buy only if you can show your Annual Pass, and some of them (magnets and coasters for example) are completely free. Being a sucker for exclusive Disney merchandise, I would love it if there were also DVC items available for the festivals. Given the popularity of the EPCOT resorts during the Food and Wine Festival, I’d hazard a guess that I’m not the only one. I’m sure a DVC exclusive range of Food and Wine merchandise would fly off the shelves, and a free gift here and there would definitely go down a treat.
Currently, Disney allows guests to book three Fastpasses for each day of their stay. For onsite guests, whether cash bookings or staying on DVC points, these can be booked 60 days before their trip. Guests staying offsite can only book 30 days in advance. There have been rumors that this going to change depending on the resort category you’re staying at. For example, if you were staying in a deluxe resort you could end up with more Fastpasses per day, or a longer advanced booking window, than those guests staying in a moderate or value resort. If this were the case, then it would be nice if DVC members got the highest priority. This could be a longer advanced booking window of 90 days, or better still an extra Fastpass or two each day.
Dining Plan Discount
As a member, we can currently add the dining plan to our stay. This has to be added at least 48 hours ahead of your vacation and paid for in full at the time of booking it. At a cost of $75.51 per adult per night and $27.99 per child per night for the regular dining plan (one table service credit, one quick service credit and two snacks each day) this comes at quite a cost. Wouldn’t it be nice if members could get the dining plan at a discounted rate? After all, members get a discount in many of the restaurants in Disney World so it really doesn’t make much sense to pay for the dining plan at the current price. The potential savings of the dining plan are often minimal when compared to standard food prices, even less so when compared to a discounted rate. If members were given 10-20% off the normal dining plan rates I think this would make it a much more appealing option. It would also help to ease the sting of the free dining offers available to guests booking cash stays, which DVC members can’t access when staying on their points.
These are just some of the ideas I thought of, the others were much more far fetched (and definitely not likely to happen any time soon). How about a fifth park, just for DVC members? Or free park tickets every time you stay?
Are there any member benefits you think Disney could add that would make your membership feel even more special? Or are you more interested in the vacations you can have, and not so bothered about any of the other perks?